According to 2019 data from the World Bank, more than 4 out of every 10 Afghans (42.47 percent) are under the age of 14. Given this very young population, it’s hardly surprising to find that many charities in Afghanistan are specifically focused on improving the quality of life for children and youth. Read on for a look at seven charities and NGOs that include children’s needs and issues as part of their mission. Best of all, each one of these organizations is certified by the Afghan Institute for Civil Society, which means that they all operate using internationally recognized standards and best practices.
Help the Afghan Children (HTAC)
For over 25 years, HTAC has been working to build an Afghanistan in which all children have equal rights to education and can participate fully in the country’s civil society. Through its innovative educational programs, HTAC empowers children and their communities to become productive actors in their society and their future.
Projects the organization has undertaken include its respected Peace Education Program, which has taught key skills and values such as cooperation, respect, and conflict resolution to nearly 100,000 students in 93 schools, and its vocational skills training initiatives, which helps vulnerable families break the cycle of poverty by providing high school-aged children with training in areas such as computer skills and tailoring.
Youth Health & Development Organization (YHDO)
Established in Afghanistan in 2009 by a group of health professionals, YHDO has a vision of a socially inclusive Afghanistan in which youth are empowered to exercise their rights and have their voices heard. In conjunction with a variety of development partners, including Save the Children International and numerous UN agencies, YHDO works across 19 Afghan provinces to deliver key services to Afghan youth and other marginalized groups. Central focus areas for YHDO include health services, community development, and human rights. Examples of specific programs include prevention and treatment programs for HIV-affected groups and emergency health response efforts in vulnerable areas.
Tashabos Education Organization (TEO)
An Afghan-led nonprofit based in Kabul, TEO supports Afghan youth in a unique way: by training them to be entrepreneurs. TEO originally began as an entrepreneurship-promotion project of the Center for International Private Enterprises, but today, the organization offers business-based educational programs to over 35,500 high school students in the Kabul area.
Students receive training in key areas such as market-based economics, good governance, and fighting corruption. They also benefit from networking opportunities and other forms of mentorship and support. The main goal of TEO’s work is to inspire and prepare youth to be socio-economically empowered, as well as to support them in building businesses, which will, in turn, help to build Afghanistan.
Bu Ali Rehabilitation and Aid Network (BARAN)
While there are many vulnerable children in need of support throughout Afghanistan, many of those who need help the most live in remote, rural areas. It is precisely these children that BARAN, established in 2006, aims to reach.
BARAN offers programs and services across a range of areas, including education and social services, but its main activity is the delivery of health care, especially care targeting children and families. Some of the programs BARAN has recently undertaken include offering critical immunizations to children in rural areas and conducting community-based nutrition programs designed to educate families on age-appropriate nutrition.
People’s Action for Change Organization (PAC)
PAC’s mission is to create an Afghan society where everyone can live in dignity and peace without hunger, poverty, or suffering. Established in 2012 and operating across several focus areas, including child protection and education, PAC works by assessing community needs, promoting community participation in the planning process, implementing programs collaboratively, and remaining accountable to community members during the evaluation process.
Shuhada Organization (SO)
Established in 1989, SO is one of the longest continually operating NGOs in Afghanistan. Guided by its simple but profound slogan, “Working for a Better Tomorrow,” SO has expanded its mission and vision over the years to incorporate many programs and services in the sectors of education, health, human rights, and democracy.
It has also placed particular emphasis on helping and empowering children. Some of SO’s major accomplishments include the construction and renovation of 127 schools and three orphanages and the provision of extended education services to over 217,000 Afghan youth. SO has also provided awareness training on human rights and democracy to hundreds of thousands of people.
Razi Social Development Organization (RSDO)
In Afghanistan, one of the main ways that charities help children is by facilitating their access to education. RSDO, in operation since 2008, counts education among its main areas of focus. With a vision of an Afghanistan in which no one is illiterate, RSDO works to ensure that all Afghan children have access to a high-quality education that can improve their lives and allow them to build a better future for themselves.